Grant Hill: The prevented “Next Jordan”

Grant Hill: The prevented “Next Jordan”

Grant Hill played for four teams in his professional career in the NBA; the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers.

He and his father were Rookies of the Year in their respective sports; Hill in the NBA in 1995 (shared with Jason Kidd), and his father in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. While playing college basketball at Duke, he was the 1994 ACC Player of the Year, a two-time NCAA All-American, and a two-time NCAA champion.

Throughout his college career and early in his years with the Detroit Pistons, Hill was widely considered to be one of the best all-around players in the game, often leading his team in points, rebounds, and assists. Grant Hill was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the third pick in the NBA draft after graduating from Duke in 1994. In his first season, he averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.77 steals per game, and became the first Pistons rookie since Isiah Thomas in 1981–82 to score 1000 points. After his first six seasons with the Pistons, in which he averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, his next twelve seasons were mostly injury plagued, as he averaged just 13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.

He was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1997, and all-NBA Second Teams in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Hill also regularly played in the NBA All-Star Game, where he made history by being the first rookie to lead an NBA All-Star fan balloting in (1994–95) with 1,289,585 votes, narrowly defeating Shaquille O’Neal. In addition, he became the first rookie in any of the four major professional sports leagues to lead all-star fan voting.

In his second season (1995–96), he once again led the All-Star fan balloting, this time edging Michael Jordan (Jordan’s first All-Star game after returning since retiring in 1993). He also won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as a member of the U.S. men’s basketball team, where he had the team’s fifth-highest scoring average (9.7) and led the team in steals (18). On June 1, 2013, after 19 years in the league, Hill announced his retirement from the NBA. He was inducted one month ago to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Hill is a player who has never fully realized his potential. We will never know and have to settle for what, if … theories. Exactly such is the Causa Hill, which will go down in annals as the prevented ‘Next MJ’ story.